Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of “New Year Resolutions.” Hard-line resolutions might work for some, but it seems like a perfect way to set yourself up for later disappointment. Even more so, why do you have to wait for a “new year” when all you really need is a new day? Yet, we—myself included—all feel that compulsion every January 1 to start fresh and try better. How then, can you make a resolution a reality?
After the chaos of the holidays, let’s make things easy with a three-step action plan for turning resolutions into reality this year. But what resolution should you choose? As the program manager for BN360, the premier young professional development and engagement program of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, I’ve got a couple of ideas—and no, I’m not going the fitness route.
Greater than the fear of death for many people is the fear (and cold-sweat dread) of public speaking. I would venture to guess that networking—a.k.a. having to make small talk with perfect strangers—is right up there for many of us as well. But maybe, just maybe, you have decided 2019 is the year to become a next-level networking or public speaking pro.
Here are three steps you can use to make your resolution a reality:
Step 1: Set Expectations
Be realistic. One of the biggest problems with “resolutions” is that we don’t set reasonable expectations and tangible steps to be successful.
You don’t jump up a flight of stairs… you walk up each step one at a time. If, on January 1, you decide you will be a public speaking pro by January 17 and are going to give a speech to 300 people, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
Step 2: Do your Homework
Identify resources and create accountability. Once you have set a reasonable resolution, an important step toward reality is research. If you want to be a public speaking pro, find out what groups, classes, and community events there are in our area.
This is a great way to start for two big reasons:
- It helps you establish a realistic timeline. After all, resolutions aren’t meant to be binged like a good Netflix series.
- It introduces you to others who might be working on the same resolution. Working with other people toward a common goal creates mutual buy-in, which keeps you on track and accountable.
When it comes to public speaking, BN360 and Toastmasters are both great places to start. And check out this guide, a comprehensive list of other great development groups in our area. It’ll help you identify the best one for you.
Step 3: Take Action
Talk is Cheap. Now that you’ve set the expectation, completed your research, and identified people who can keep you accountable, it’s time to act.
Taking the first step is scary. It means that you’ll have to step outside your comfort zone—and that can make you feel vulnerable. Again, this is where the buddy system comes in. What better way to take action and overcome your fears than to join a group of people who feel the same way?
Luckily, 2019 will continue for another 300 plus days… and so should your resolution if you want to see it become a reality. Get involved and stay involved. If you stay the course, there’s no doubt your resolution will become a reality—and you’ll be a public speaking pro or next-level networker in no time.
By: Rachael Herrmann